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Christianity's demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, one of America's leading church historians shows how studying world Christianity changed and enriched his understanding of the nature of the faith as well as of its history.Drawing on personal experience, Mark Noll illustrates the riche Christianity's demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, one of America's leading church historians shows how studying world Christianity changed and enriched his understanding of the nature of the faith as well as of its history.Drawing on personal experience, Mark Noll illustrates the riches awaiting anyone who gains even a preliminary understanding of the diverse histories that make up the Christian story. He shows how coming to view human culture as created by God was an important gift he received from the historical study of world Christian diversity, which then led him to a deeper theological understanding of Christianity itself. Along the way, Noll shows how he came to enjoy greater respect for the particulars of the Christian tradition in which he was nurtured as he began studying Christian traditions that differed greatly from what he had known. He also offers advice to students who sense a call to a learned vocation. From Every Tribe and Nation will appeal to professors and students in history of Christianity courses as well as discipleship-of-the-mind campus ministry groups.


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Christianity's demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, one of America's leading church historians shows how studying world Christianity changed and enriched his understanding of the nature of the faith as well as of its history.Drawing on personal experience, Mark Noll illustrates the riche Christianity's demographics, vitality, and influence have tipped markedly toward the global South and East. Addressing this seismic shift, one of America's leading church historians shows how studying world Christianity changed and enriched his understanding of the nature of the faith as well as of its history.Drawing on personal experience, Mark Noll illustrates the riches awaiting anyone who gains even a preliminary understanding of the diverse histories that make up the Christian story. He shows how coming to view human culture as created by God was an important gift he received from the historical study of world Christian diversity, which then led him to a deeper theological understanding of Christianity itself. Along the way, Noll shows how he came to enjoy greater respect for the particulars of the Christian tradition in which he was nurtured as he began studying Christian traditions that differed greatly from what he had known. He also offers advice to students who sense a call to a learned vocation. From Every Tribe and Nation will appeal to professors and students in history of Christianity courses as well as discipleship-of-the-mind campus ministry groups.

30 review for From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian's Discovery of the Global Christian Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    George P.

    Mark A. Noll, From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian’s Discovery of the Global Christian Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014). Paperback / Kindle Mark A. Noll is a leading historian of American Christianity, an evangelical Christian, and a prolific author. From Every Tribe and Nation is a memoir of his evolution as a historian, with a particular focus on his growing belief that “full attention to the non-Western world had become essential for any responsible grasp of the histo Mark A. Noll, From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian’s Discovery of the Global Christian Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014). Paperback / Kindle Mark A. Noll is a leading historian of American Christianity, an evangelical Christian, and a prolific author. From Every Tribe and Nation is a memoir of his evolution as a historian, with a particular focus on his growing belief that “full attention to the non-Western world had become essential for any responsible grasp of the history of Christianity.” Like all of Noll’s writings, its thoughts are lucid and graciously expressed, a tribute to Noll’s capacious mind and generous spirit. As I read Noll’s memoir, I kept asking myself who should read this book. It has relevance to both historians and missiologists, but it is not a work of history or missiology. It is not an academic book per se, but it is not pitched at a popular audience either. It is—from a marketing standpoint—something of a strange beast. And yet, for those who have eyes to see, let them read this book. Noll has written two books on the relationship between Christian faith and the life of the mind: The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. In these books, he has explored why American evangelicals have not adequately appreciated the value of the life of the mind (and its counterpart in academic vocations) and how Christian faith actually supports that life. Those familiar with Noll’s published research are cognizant of the caliber of his scholarship. What From Every Tribe and Nation does is reveal the intellectual qualities of the scholar who produced them. Scholarship cannot be reduced to biography, but it cannot be separated from it either. Noll grew up in a missions-minded Baptist home, was attracted to Reformed Christianity in his college years, and has come to appreciate the diverse global expressions of faith in Jesus Christ. Surely this outlook—rooted in a particular ecclesiological tradition but curious about and hospitable to other expressions of the faith—is one worth imitating, whatever your vocation. P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    I love reading about historians and their trade. In this book, Mark Noll recounts in memoir-fashion his growth as a scholar, particularly his development as an historian of American religious history to that of global Christianity. It's a fascinating read. Here's the best description of an historian: “For the most part, historians sit, read books, prepare lectures, grade student papers, occasionally travel to archives, sit some more, organize notes and books, relax by going to museums (and readin I love reading about historians and their trade. In this book, Mark Noll recounts in memoir-fashion his growth as a scholar, particularly his development as an historian of American religious history to that of global Christianity. It's a fascinating read. Here's the best description of an historian: “For the most part, historians sit, read books, prepare lectures, grade student papers, occasionally travel to archives, sit some more, organize notes and books, relax by going to museums (and reading everything on all of the placards), attend conferences to hear papers read, write books and articles, retire, read some more, and fade away. The constant effort to figure out why people, institutions, ideas, cultural assumptions, conflicts, social relationships, and day-to-day living developed as they did in the past leaves little time or psychic energy for close attention to ourselves. While some of the books that historians write might be lively, humane, and compelling, our lives rarely are.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Philip Mcduffie

    Mark Noll helps you to understand his passion the for global Christian story, all the while attempting to get you to catch a bit of his zeal for the global Christian story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Read this book only if your primary intention is to learn more about Mark Noll. Otherwise the few interesting bits of information and perspective scattered throughout simply aren't worth it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Metz

    Mark Noll describes his commissioning and purpose for the book as a “personal narrative” and “personal memoire”. He referred to his audiences as “general” and explained the goal of broadening the typical Western worldview of Christian history to be more global. In his aim to explain the process of his own development I believe he was successful. However, the longer I read the book the more I questioned the identity of the desired audience of the author. Who is this book written for? The first fe Mark Noll describes his commissioning and purpose for the book as a “personal narrative” and “personal memoire”. He referred to his audiences as “general” and explained the goal of broadening the typical Western worldview of Christian history to be more global. In his aim to explain the process of his own development I believe he was successful. However, the longer I read the book the more I questioned the identity of the desired audience of the author. Who is this book written for? The first few chapters explain his early personal story and years spent in various academic settings as a student. Noll then moves to accounts of his journeys, traveling experiences, professional friendships and lessons gathered from his role as a professor, author and historian. Although these chapters accurately report his own life story, they do not express relatable material for the average “general” reader. In the case that a reader identifies with Noll’s language and life experiences, it is likely that such a person would also share his views in the global historical perspective of world Christianity. For those readers who lack such a perspective but desire it enough to buy the book, they are given very little to connect with and apply to their own lives. As I read, I thought, “Either readers understand this but they don’t need it or they need it but can’t understand it.” If we are to learn and grow from Noll’s book, then some heavy lifting is required after processing through what he has written. I see three lessons that can be gleaned from Noll’s work that may provide a seminal investment useful for growth yet still in need of further nurturing. First, Noll suggests that the influence of learned and respected persons is central to the development of a healthy Christian worldview. In his life, these learned and respected persons ranged from early professors to peers in academia to the memorable submissions from various students along the way. The question to the reader: who are my learned and respected influences? We would do ourselves a favor to identify these individuals and find ways to benefit from their influence in our lives. Second, a willingness to travel and be exposed to other cultures and ideas is essential. Noll showed this area of growth through international excursions and partnerships with various individuals from around the world. Repeatedly, Noll shared a memory about a person or place from outside his culture where he learned or realized something important. The desire and openness to gain from multiethnic and multicultural sources leads to a growing understanding and appreciation of historical Christianity worldwide. Third, teaching ideas assists in the development of those ideas. Noll has been a teacher in many arenas for many years. His teaching experiences have helped to broaden and thicken his understanding of global Christianity. If we are to develop our own perspectives then we must not only input the information, we must attempt an output. The development of a lesson plan, a conversation or even a brief blog will go a long way to solidify and nurture one’s personal understanding. Although I appreciate these three insights from Noll, I feel the goal could have been accomplished in an article, not a book. Repeatedly Noll took four or five pages to make a point when a sentence or two would have done the job sufficiently. I was distracted again and again by rabbit trails, unnecessary stories or extensive listing of books, names or personal accomplishments. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone but I do value the meaningful insights sifted from its pages.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ho Christopher

    History has never occurred in a vacuum, neither do historians live in a vacuum. They are shaped by what has happened in their lives, their upbringing and their topics of interests. This essentially is a book on that, and the historian in view is Mark Noll. For those who do not know who he is, you can google/wiki him. But he should be most known for a number of his works, including, “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” and “Is the Reformation Over?”. And as much as one may enjoy the fruit of Noll History has never occurred in a vacuum, neither do historians live in a vacuum. They are shaped by what has happened in their lives, their upbringing and their topics of interests. This essentially is a book on that, and the historian in view is Mark Noll. For those who do not know who he is, you can google/wiki him. But he should be most known for a number of his works, including, “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” and “Is the Reformation Over?”. And as much as one may enjoy the fruit of Noll’s labour, one might be interested to know what influenced him and what caused him to be who he is today. And that is what this book is about, the thoughts, reflections and life of Mark Noll. I must say when I first saw his name on the cover of the book, I was rather interested to read about his thoughts on the missions, or so I thought. After I’ve finished the introduction, I figured that I was going to be going down a very different path that I intended. As someone who has truly not read any works by Noll yet, I found this book rather intimidating at first, I feared my lack of knowledge would be my downfall. Yet, I was in for a surprise, I can very well say that this may perhaps be a good book for people who like Noll or would to know about Noll a little more than his literary works. The books generally talks about the influences that Noll had as he was young, what were the things or people who shaped him into who he is today. Noll spends time talking about the major influences in his lives and how those have shaped his research and also his literary output. For most of the chapters, Nolll generally recounts and reflects on incidents that have happened in his life, which though can be interesting at times, it was not what I was looking out for. In his last chapter, Noll presents to the readers some of his own thoughts and reflection on the current modern context. This I felt was the best part of the book (fans of Noll may disagree with me about it!). Noll brings no specific answers but present to the readers many thoughtful pointers that should provoke readers to think further about the topics he raises. Barring that, this book can also very helpful if you want to know why or how Noll has written some of his books. Noll gives elaborate descriptions on the reasons why and also the situations that brought him about to write what he has written. So if you want to know about the thoughts, reflections and life of Mark Noll, you should read this book! Or if you’re one who doing research on Noll, this would be a valuable book. If however you wish to read about Noll’s insight into a specific topics, I would redirect you to his other works. Rating: 4 / 5 Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dan Gorman

    This volume is a wonderful example of how to write an academic's memoir. Mark Noll, the eminent historian of American Christianity, tells his life story to a certain degree, but focuses on his research. Every chapter ties into his understanding of the broader world — specifically, Christianity that isn't from Western countries. Noll explains how, a little bit at a time, he became convinced that the story of Christianity needed to encompass the whole of the world. While Noll is confident in his p This volume is a wonderful example of how to write an academic's memoir. Mark Noll, the eminent historian of American Christianity, tells his life story to a certain degree, but focuses on his research. Every chapter ties into his understanding of the broader world — specifically, Christianity that isn't from Western countries. Noll explains how, a little bit at a time, he became convinced that the story of Christianity needed to encompass the whole of the world. While Noll is confident in his personal evangelical faith (he identifies as a conservative Presbyterian), he shows a remarkable willingness to grapple with interpretations of Christianity that diverge from his own. He cites his friendship and scholarly collaborations with a variety of evangelical Christians who range from conservative missionaries to a Canadian socialist. Noll writes incisively about how to be a religious person writing history, while not assuming that every event in Christian history is God's will. Indeed, while he is no postmodernist, Noll is critical of imperialism, sensitive to cultural diversity and pluralism, and sure that the future of Christianity is in non-white countries. I disagree with Prof. Noll on many theological issues, but after reading this book I think that, were I to meet him in person, we'd enjoy a respectful difference of opinions. This book does a great service of putting you inside the mind of a major American evangelical, while also showing how he diverges from and frowns upon simplistic fundamentalism.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Mark A. Noll is a historian of the evangelical movement, mostly in the United States. He has taught at Wheaton College and at Notre Dame. Noll traces how he became aware of a Christianity that was more than a United States movement or a North American one. He begins with his childhood in a Baptist church in Cedar Rapids, Michigan. His journey took him through preparation for a teaching career as an academic historian, increasing familiarity with the Reformation, then Canadian Christianity. He tra Mark A. Noll is a historian of the evangelical movement, mostly in the United States. He has taught at Wheaton College and at Notre Dame. Noll traces how he became aware of a Christianity that was more than a United States movement or a North American one. He begins with his childhood in a Baptist church in Cedar Rapids, Michigan. His journey took him through preparation for a teaching career as an academic historian, increasing familiarity with the Reformation, then Canadian Christianity. He traveled to Romania twice, once just before the collapse of the Soviet Union and one just after. His comments here on the great changes between the two time periods are insightful. His journey into other spaces continued as began to teach courses that included the Christian movements in South America, China, and other places. Many are familiar with growth of the Christian movement in non-Western nations and with the perceived decline in Europe and North America. Noll's book gives a special meaning to the world wide Christian movement with his very personal observations.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James Korsmo

    I found this narrative of intellectual history from one of the preeminent historians of evangelicalism to be worthwhile and enjoyable. Noll recounts his discovery of the history (both past and present) of Christianity in the majority world. He traces seeds of his experiences of church here at home, and charts the points of a raising awareness of Christianity's explosion in non-Western contexts. It's interesting to see how his raising awareness of this "other" history of Christianity informed and I found this narrative of intellectual history from one of the preeminent historians of evangelicalism to be worthwhile and enjoyable. Noll recounts his discovery of the history (both past and present) of Christianity in the majority world. He traces seeds of his experiences of church here at home, and charts the points of a raising awareness of Christianity's explosion in non-Western contexts. It's interesting to see how his raising awareness of this "other" history of Christianity informed and deepened his understanding of American and Western Christianity. Hopefully this book will help prod many others to follow him along his path.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Noll's memoir is not like the one Stanley Hauerwas wrote, which is a history of an extrovert and the books, people, and ideas that influenced him. The influential books, people and ideas are actually a similarity between the books, but Noll is an introvert. As a result this is much more memoir as personal intellectual history, following the formation of Noll's interests as they move from Reformation and American themes, to the more broad conception of World Christianity. A quiet and humble perso Noll's memoir is not like the one Stanley Hauerwas wrote, which is a history of an extrovert and the books, people, and ideas that influenced him. The influential books, people and ideas are actually a similarity between the books, but Noll is an introvert. As a result this is much more memoir as personal intellectual history, following the formation of Noll's interests as they move from Reformation and American themes, to the more broad conception of World Christianity. A quiet and humble personal reflection that also opens up a wide bibliography of the 20th century movement of Christianity.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    What a wonderful book. Any fan of Noll's writing will delight to follow along as he traces his intellectual and spiritual debts to scholars and mentors. Along the way, Noll provides an outstanding bibliography of resources for anyone interested in digging into the history and current developments in global Christianity.

  12. 4 out of 5

    John

    Mark Noll illustrates the riches awaiting anyone who gains even a preliminary understanding of the diverse histories that make up the Christian story. He shows how coming to view human culture as created by God was an important gift he received from the historical study of world Christian diversity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dax Palmer

    It was good for what is was worth. The author just writes a short bio about how he became more of a global Christian mind set rather then North American Christian mind set. The good thing about this book is that he challenges his readers to look how Christianity has influenced and continues to influence other cultures.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Colby

    Mark Noll, former professor at Wheaton, is now at Notre Dame. He specializes in American Church History. Jeff introduced me to him at his church and I have read two of his books, which are outstanding. Saw this one on a book table at the 2PC Missions conference, and can't wait to dig into it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    T

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Willson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  18. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hampton Harmon

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann Hammon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Morrow

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pamblanco

  26. 5 out of 5

    Keith Clark

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brannon Hancock

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Platt

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  30. 4 out of 5

    keneth cruz

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